Procrastination is not just a poor habit, but a mental health issue.

As an aspirant I faced the problem of procrastination in my early preparation days. At that time, I couldn’t exactly pinpoint why I was doing so. But I was able to overcome this through some introspection and actions that helped me.

I would like to share some of those techniques to beat procrastination with aspirants and students. You can follow these techniques, but remember these work only if you commit yourself to truly introspecting and follow it up with actions.

  1. Identify your Desire
    • Desire is a powerful emotion. It is what kick starts your journey towards what you want.
    • For example, your desire to be an IAS officer, a pilot, an entrepreneur, a scientist, or becoming CEO of an MNC. Without an inherent desire, it is difficult to find the direction you are moving into.
    • Therefore, introspect and identify your desire. What drives you?
    • Remember, the process to be followed for achieving your desire is going to be tough, very tough. For me, I wanted to be in the IAS, the process was so difficult and full of mental health issues and struggles.
    • But that being said, desire must exist. If your desire is not strong enough, you will not have a goal to move towards.
  2. Pleasure and Process go hand in hand — develop them
    • Most great things in life are a marathon, not a sprint. Most memorable cricket innings are those from the Test matches, not T20s!
    • Similarly, most of the desires in life need you to develop a process that you have fun going through.
    • If Sachin Tendulkar just wanted to become a great cricketer (his desire) it wasn’t enough! He had to develop a rigorous physical and mental routine, a very good process to get there. Along the way, he also had fun through the journey.
    • When you are studying for UPSC, develop a strong process — which means, time table, small but achievable goals, check list, dedicated time slots to take tests etc. This is the process.
    • But have fun while doing it. Try to connect with other good aspirants online. Learn from them. Compete with them. Talk with them. Take out time for family and take breaks when you achieve these goals. Make the process worth doing it!
    • I used to do this by taking small breaks every week with an episode of Friends, or a movie, or just going to see a historical site in Delhi — learning with fun!
  3. Address your fear of failure early in the journey
    • Procrastination also happens due to fear of failure.
    • You can beat fear of failure by addressing it early in your journey.
    • To do so, remember and remind yourself of two things:
      1. The outcome actually does not matter, the journey does. ‘Karma’ matters, not the ‘Phal’ — this is the most powerful motivation technique. The day you stop worrying about the result and focus on the process, the Karma, you truly have moved 1 step closer to the goal.
      2. Failure is not actually failure — Failure is one step closer to success hidden in many negative emotions. Failure feels horrible, but trust me, if you learn from your failure, you are beating so so many negative emotions and getting there!
  4. Where to start, just do it!
    • Procrastination also happens when you don’t know where to start.
    • Let me give you a simple tip, just start. Push yourself to take that extra step. There is no other alternative solution. It doesn’t matter where you start, as long as you do..

I say, just think about the above things. Contemplate on them. Take baby steps. I am sure you can beat your procrastination like I did 🙂